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A TOOL-Related Article

Publication: BEAT magazine

Date: Issue 531 - December 11, 1996

Transcribed by Justin McKinlay (

 title: TOOL TIME
author: Murray Engleheart

In his book, "I Need More" with Anne Wehrer, Iggy Pop reckons that the 
constant assault of amplifiers over the last few decades has altered his 
body chemistry in some significant way. L.A. earth shakers and psyche 
stirrers, Tool are set on the same gut and DNA altering course. 

"I definitely believe that." said totally humourless vocalist and general 
shaman, Maynard James Keenan who incredible as it now seems was a KIss 
maniac when he was about twelve. "That's a proven thing. The magnets and 
electricitty that goes through all that stuff on stage definitely alters 
the energy field around your body just like children are dying of weird 
cancers that have their schools set up next to major power lines. That's 
the documented stuff. I don't know if it's a healthy thing, I just know 
that it does effect you."

Right now with the release of their second album, the long awaited Aenima 
- think the Rollins Band from parts unknown - Tool's music is creating a 
magnetic field of its own that many are clearly finding highly 
attractive. In the U.S. where Toolmania hit a belated but very high tide 
mark with their last album, Undertow, Guitar Player magazine with its 
massive monthly circulation was unable to secure an interview with the 
band for its January 1997 issue. They decided to go to plan B which 
involved featuring the cartoon character that appeared in the animated 
video for Sober from the Undertow album. The wave that Tool are riding 
has been coming for several years. Intensity and heaviness are not the 
issues they once were. We have returned to a time where music is the key. 
Back in Led Zeppelin's early seventies' hey day there was virtually no 
difference between the sort of audience The Stones and Zeppelin pulled. 
We've gone full circle. "Thank goodness" Keenan murmured. The central 
epic piece of the Undertow album was a Sister Rayish beast called 
Disgustipated that grew from a crazed night at Palladium in Los Angeles 
during an antivivisection. It was supposed to be an acoustic show with 
Alice In Chains, Rage Against the Machine and Porno for Pyros. Tool shall 
we say departed from that agenda smashing a multitude of guitars while 
Keenan discharged a shotgun. After the smoke and plaster dust settled 
they went and somehow did a studio version of it. The material on Aenima 
was birthed under relatively more conservative circumstances. 

"Disgustipated was kind of an experimental thing. With this album we did 
a log of experimenting but it was more of a deliberate process." 

The recording time frame for Aenima was "pretty short, not too long: and 
was produced by David Bottrill, a choice made no doubt at least in part 
because of his pro rata relationship with Robert Fripp, the genius and 
guitarist behind Tool heroes, King Crimson. 

"We saw his name on a project with David Sylvian and Fripp that I really 
liked and decided to check him out."

It's an association that's in keeping with Keenan's take on where the 
band are coming from.

"I would relate us more to Soundgarden or Robert Fripp King Crimson sort 
of stuff than I would the Rollins band" he said, "though there's 
definitely a lot of similar things going on." 

Keenan is not sure of everything that's been going on in the Tool camp 
however. For example, he had no idea about the origins of the passage 
about the mind on the CD slick for Aenima. 

"I'm not sure who wrote that. I haven't really gone over that too much. 
(Drummer) Danny (Carey) and (guitarist) Adam (Jones) are the ones that 
put it in there. I'm not sure where it's from." 

Have you ever been approached to do any acting? 

"A little bit yeah. Just some comedy stuff, like a sketch comedy." 

Is it true you don't blink?

"I don't know. I don't pay attention"

And what has to be in place for a great Tool show? 

"I don't know. I guess all the pistons firing at the same time. You don't 
need to have too much of a spiritual mind set. Once you kick in and the 
sounds kick in they take you where they're going to take you." 

Aenima is out now through BMG

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